SAN DIEGO (AP) – Drew Bledsoe’s reunion with Bill Parcells is off to a wild and impressive start.

Bledsoe threw three touchdown passes, two to Keyshawn Johnson, and became the 10th player in NFL history to throw for 40,000 yards, leading the Dallas Cowboys to a 28-24 win over the San Diego Chargers on Sunday.

Bledsoe threw the winning 2-yard touchdown pass with 3:06 left as Johnson beat cornerback Sammy Davis on a quick out.

The Cowboys didn’t get to celebrate, though, until Aaron Glenn intercepted Drew Brees’ throw in the end zone with 24 seconds left. Brees kept alive a desperation drive with a 33-yard completion to Eric Parker to the Dallas 7 in the final minute. Then Brees’ fourth-down pass bounced off Parker and Glenn came down with it.

Signing the 33-year-old Bledsoe on Feb. 23 was part of a sweeping offseason makeover after the Cowboys went 6-10. While with New England, Parcells made Bledsoe the first overall pick in the 1993 draft.

Dallas’ winning drive started on the San Diego 44 after Mike Scifres’ shanked punt went only 18 yards. It was kept alive when cornerback Quentin Jammer was called for holding on third-and-16 at the 37. After three carries by Julius Jones, Bledsoe hit Johnson.

Bledsoe passed the 40,000-yard mark on a 15-yard completion to Terry Glenn on the first play of the fourth quarter. Bledsoe was 18-of-24 for 226 yards, giving him 40,034 yards in his career. He was sacked four times and wasn’t intercepted.

San Diego’s LaDainian Tomlinson, who wants to break Eric Dickerson’s NFL single-season rushing record of 2,105 yards, was held to 72 yards on 19 carries. He scored on a 2-yard run in the first quarter, his 13th straight game with a TD rushing to tie the NFL record held by John Riggins and George Rogers.

Brees threw two touchdown passes to Keenan McCardell and was intercepted twice. He was 18-of-35 for 209 yards.

Chargers All-Pro Antonio Gates missed the game as he finished his three-game suspension for missing a team-mandated deadline to end his training camp holdout.

Bledsoe rallied Dallas after a monumentally ugly second series, when the Cowboys were whistled for three holding penalties and two false starts, although one holding call was declined after the Chargers sacked Bledsoe at the Dallas 1.

Mat McBriar punted to the 50, and Dallas forced San Diego into a three-and-out, including a 13-yard sack of Brees.

Bledsoe hit Patrick Crayton for a 32-yard gain on third-and-9 from the Dallas 21, then hit a wide-open Crayton for a 20-yard touchdown to tie it at 7.

Terence Newman intercepted Brees three plays into the next Chargers drive, at the San Diego 34. Five plays later, Bledsoe threw a 13-yard pass to Johnson, who reached back for the ball and fell into the end zone for a 14-7 lead.

San Diego tied it on Brees’ 20-yard pass to McCardell.

Rookie Darren Sproles had consecutive kickoff returns of 49 and 49 yards in the second half to set up San Diego scores: a 17-yard touchdown pass from Brees to McCardell and Nate Kaeding’s 33-yard field goal.

In between those scores, Dallas’ Julius Jones scored on a 5-yard run to tie the game at 21. The drive was kept alive when Chargers rookie lineman Luis Castillo was penalized for hitting Bledsoe on the helmet with his right hand. Bledsoe also had completions of 25 and 18 yards to Johnson.

AP-ES-09-11-05 1944EDT


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